What Are the Formats of the NFL
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The NFL is returning again with all the excitement and thrills. Since there was a few months gap, let’s make sure you have not forgotten the format. In case you are a new watcher, it is going to be very helpful for you.

The NFL is played in 3 rounds. The first round is the preseason round, where each team plays four exhibition games. The next round is the regular season, which is followed by the playoffs. And the grand final is the Super Bowl. Let’s explain the formats in detail.

The Preseason Round

The preseason round is to warm up the players, fans, and teams. Teams can do some experiments in these matches to find out the new potential players. Players can also warm up themselves before the regular season. Also, it draws the attention of the fans for the next rounds.

Each team usually gets to play four matches in this round. Losing these matches does not usually affect their chance of reaching the playoffs. It lets the teams do some experiments with their players and combinations. The round takes place for three to four weeks.

The Regular Season

The regular season consists of 17 games for each team. All 32 teams compete in this round to punch their ticket to the playoffs. The 32 teams are divided into 2 conferences, each containing 16 teams. 7 teams from each conference reach the playoffs.

The 16 teams are then divided into four divisions. Let’s check on the teams of the 2023 NFL and their respective divisions:

AFC- American Football Conference

DivisionTeamsAFC ChampionshipSuper Bowl
AFC EastNew England Patriots66
Buffalo Bills00
Miami Dolphins22
New York Jets00
AFC NorthBaltimore Ravens22
Cincinnati Bengals00
Cleveland Browns00
Pittsburgh Steelers66
AFC SouthHouston Texans00
Indianapolis Colts20
Jacksonville Jaguars00
Tennessee Titans00
AFC WestDenver Broncos33
Kansas City Chiefs22
Las Vegas Raiders33
Los Angeles Chargers00

NFC- National Football Conference

DivisionTeamsNFC ChampionshipSuper Bowl
NFC EastDallas Cowboys85
Philadelphia Eagles31
New York Giants54
Washington Commanders54
NFC NorthGreen Bay Packers32
Chicago Bears21
Minnesota Vikings30
Detroit Lions00
NFC SouthNew Orleans Saints11
Tampa Bay Buccaneers22
Carolina Panthers20
Atlanta Falcons20
NFC WestSan Francisco 49ers75
Seattle Seahawks31
Los Angeles Rams50
Arizona Cardinals11

The Playoffs

After an 18-week regular season, 14 teams finally reach the playoffs. 8 division winners from the 2 conferences and 6 wildcard teams get to compete in the Playoffs. The playoffs are also divided into three different phases: Wildcard round, Divisional Round, and Conference Championships.

1. The Wildcard Round

12 out of 14 teams compete in this round. The top-seeded division winner receives a bye week and does not compete in the round. The other six teams compete in the one-match elimination round for their spots in the Divisional round.

2. Divisional Round

Now we have four teams remaining in the tournament in each conference. The winners of the Wild Card round join the top-seeded division winners in the Divisional round. The remaining teams compete for a spot in the Conference Championships.

A total of four games are played in two conferences. Two teams from each conference reach the conference round of their respective conference.

3. Conference Championships

The two teams that emerge victorious from the Divisional round in each conference face off in the Conference Championships. The winners of the Conference Championships represent their conference in the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl

It is the most anticipated night of the year. The AFC champion and the NFC champion come head-to-head. The match is typically held on the first Sunday in February. This game determines the NFL champion for that season.


How many teams play in the regular season of the NFL?

A total of 32 teams compete in the regular season of the NFL. The teams are divided into two conferences: AFC and NFC. Each conference is further then divided into four divisions.

What is the match format of the NFL?

An NFL match is divided into four quarters, each lasting 15 minutes. Each team has an offense side and a defense side. The defense’s objective is to stop the opposing team’s offense from advancing and scoring points.


The NFL has different rounds, which makes it more competitive and anticipative. Each round has its own excitement. Let’s hope the article has helped you understand the format of the tournament, and you can now enjoy the NFL without any confusion regarding the format.

Read Also: How Many Teams Are in the NFL

Golam Muktadir is a passionate sports fan and a dedicated movie buff. He has been writing about both topics for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Muktadir has a degree in journalism and has written for several well-known publications, including Surprise Sports.